Family Matters

Posted July 29, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life, Special Days

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A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!

Love Is…

Posted July 22, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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This past weekend our youngest grandchild was baptized. He wore a 140-year-old family baptismal gown. I’m sure our Irish relatives were looking down from heaven with happiness and pride.

Including our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, there were thirteen people under one roof for the weekend. Six of those were children – ages five and younger. On Sunday, more people arrived for the baptismal celebration. It was a happy day with a bit of chaos sprinkled in. During all of the goings-on, these two found a quiet space to share a book.

Love is faith, family, and friends!

Winner to the Giveaway and Shark Week!

Posted July 15, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Nonfiction Picture Books, Picture Books

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The winner of Janie Reinart’s beautiful book, When Water Makes Mud:  A Story of Refugee Children is…

Janet Celek!

Congratulations, Janet!

It’s Shark Week!

Chomp! Sink your teeth into these books!

Sharks for Kids by David McGuire, Rockridge Press, 2020

So Cool! Sharks by Crispin Boyer, National Geographic Kids, 2019

The Ultimate Book of Sharks by Brian Skerry, National Geographic for Kids, 2018

Sharks: Teeth to Tail written by Jaye Garnett and illustrated by Beatrice Tinarelli, Cottage Door Press, 2021

Shark Lady written by Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns, Sourcebooks Explore, 2017

An Interview with Author Janie Reinart and a Giveaway!

Posted July 8, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Author Interview

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Janie Reinart

Meet Janie Reinart. Whether she’s writing, teaching, puppeteering, performing interactive musical stories, clowning around, or presiding as a poet-in-residence at an elementary school, Janie’s enthusiasm is infectious. Today I have the honor of interviewing this multi-talented author as she talks about her newest book When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children. Readers can see my book review here.

Welcome, Janie Reinart, and congratulations on your beautiful book. Tell us more about the background of the story and why you wrote it.

Cathy, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. It is my pleasure to celebrate the South Sudanese children in the story.

My inspiration and resource for WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN is the National Geographic photographer, Nora Lorek, who took four trips to the Bidibidi Settlement and documented her travels in photos. Nora has graciously answered my questions for the story.

I was inspired by the refugee children at the Bidibidi Settlement; children who invented toys from found objects using their imagination and critical thinking skills. One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” These children without toys created something from nothing. These children have hope. Their hope becomes our hope.

Your story has a lovely lyrical feel. Can you discuss some of the writing techniques you used to create such a heartfelt story? Did you use mentor texts?

When I started working on the manuscript, I knew I wanted a playful structure to match the heart of my story—children creating, playing, cherished sibling relationships, kindness, and caring. I had fun figuring out the smallest to the largest ways to show mirth—from a grin to a laugh.

Poetry does the heavy lifting of capturing emotions. I enjoyed using animals the children see every day as similes. The repetition in the story helps the read-aloud to be interactive. A picture book that stuck with me and became my mentor text was Miranda Paul’s, Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle illustrated by Janson Chin.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

Social and emotional learning through stories helps us feel empathy, make caring decisions, and find out we are more alike than different. I would like to see today’s tech-savvy children disconnect from screens and spend more time using their imaginations and creating. I’m hoping When Water Makes Mud will also inspire people to donate to UNICEF. Publisher’s profits from When Water Makes Mud are being donated to UNICEF.

It’s very impressive of the publisher to make those donations.

Marketing a book can be challenging. What are some of the things you’ve done to promote your book?

It takes a village to market a book. I would like to thank my debut groups @thekidlitcrew and @readingfunin21, and my critique partners Charlotte Dixon, Pamela Courtney, Kathy Halsey, Melissa Rutigliano, Marietta Apollpnio, and Monique Morales Wakefield.

The wonderful thing about the kid lit community is their generosity in sharing news about books on social media and interviews on blogs. I’ve found all you have to do is ask. Thank you again, Cathy, for this interview.

It’s my pleasure, Janie.

Do you do school or virtual visits? Describe what one of your visits would be like.

In previous years, I did live school visits. This past year, I had the opportunity to take the fabulous Kate Messner’s classes on virtual visits. What fun to be able to Zoom all over the place and interact with kids. One of my virtual visits includes jokes, a sing-along with hand motions, creating a group poem, choral reading, interactive reading of the picture book story, five ways to adapt a fairytale, discussion on why we write, and Q & A. I also provide free downloads for activities to go with the story.

Your program sounds amazing. Can you share something not many people know about you?

I obviously do like to play! I coordinated and performed in a gentle clown ministry when we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. We visited St. Elizabeth’s Hospital adding silliness and play to a child patient’s routine, as well as being comic relief for parents, nurses, and doctors. My troupe was all mimes—no talking when you were in full costume. Laughter is the best medicine!

Janie and her daughters clowning around

What’s next for you, Janie?

I am researching a story that has to do with my childhood. I have several stories out on submission and have others waiting to be revised again. I love the writer’s life and making the writer/reader connection—heart to heart.

Thank you, Janie. I’m so pleased to have you as a friend and as a guest on my blog!

Learn more about Janie Reinart below.

www.janiereinart.com

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Book Trailer

The Giveaway!

Janie has generously agreed to give away a copy of When Water Makes Mud.

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below. For extra chances to win, like this post and post this giveaway on social media. Make sure you state where you posted it in your comment. Please note:  You must be a resident of the U.S. and at least 18 years of age to enter. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, 7/14/21 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be randomly picked and announced on my 7/15/21 blog post. Good luck to all!

An Extra:

A reading of When Water Makes Mud on #StoryTimeWithMrLimata

Thursday, July 8: WHEN WATER MAKES MUD by JANIE REINART, illustrated by MORGAN TAYLOR. Published by BLUE WHALE PRESS

Story Time is 11:00 am PT on Facebook and YouTube Live! Find where to get the book in Mr. Limata’s bio or at https://bit.ly/MrLimata-Find-The-Books

When Life Gets in the Way…

Posted July 1, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life

Tags: ,

Is the week over yet?

Every time I think I have a free moment, something else comes up. My creativity is on hold as I try to get my life back together.

I’ll be back next week – a calmer, gentler person!

PB Review: When Water Makes Mud

Posted June 24, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review, Picture Books

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When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children written by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor, Blue Whale Press, 2021

This is a beautiful book about two young girls who are in a refugee camp They arrived there with nothing but their dreams. The older sister sees the sadness in her little sister. So, she picks up a stick to make something from nothing. She uses it to draw pictures from home. The little sister smiles, but happiness fades quickly. The older sister continues to find things to cheer up her sister – pebbles to make a puzzle, a bag to make a balloon… Each time, the little sister is happy, but then sadness takes its place. Until…water makes mud. The older sister sculpts a doll out of the mud. The mud baby becomes a precious toy for the little sister. As the days pass the two add more mud toys and dream. Janie Reinart’s lyrical text and Morgan Taylor’s captivating illustrations will evoke emotions that will melt your heart.

The publisher’s profits from the sale of this book are being donated to UNICEF. I highly recommend adding this book to your home library.

The Heart of Friendship

Posted June 17, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life

Tags: , , ,

KNOCK! KNOCK!

No one is home. I’m visiting a special friend today.

Take time to visit your special friends!

NATIONAL DAIRY MONTH

Posted June 10, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: National Dairy Month

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Did you know that cows are very generous creatures? They give us milk, milk, and more milk.

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream are made possible by cows. These products provide us with calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein. So, grab your favorite dairy product and celebrate National Dairy Month. And while you’re at it, give three cheers for our hard-milking cows!

Milk it!

Got Milk?
Say Cheese!

One Happy Man!

As you enjoy delicious dairy treats, take a look at these mooving books.

Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More

I’ll Love You Till The Cows Come Home

Mootilda’s Bad Mood

Cow Says Meow

Picture Books I Enjoyed Reading

Posted June 3, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review, Picture Books

These are a few of the books I picked up at my local library that I found enjoyable. Do any of these interest you?

Find Fergus written and illustrated by Mike Boldt, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2020

Fergus is a silly bear. He doesn’t know where to find a good place to hide. He hides behind a skinny tree. He hides in a crowd of bunnies. He hides among elephants and moose. With a little practice, Fergus finally finds a perfect place to hide. Can you find Fergus?

Avacado Asks: What Am I? written and illustrated by Momoko Abe, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2021

When a little girl at a grocery store asks if an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable, Avocado suddenly doesn’t know where he belongs in the store. Is he a fruit? A Vegetable? An herb, a fish, cheese, egg…? He is feeling lost and lonely until Tomato helps Avocado understand the many things he is good at being. Avocado and Tomato agree being themselves is good enough!

Zonia’s Rain Forest written and illustrated by Juana Martinez Neal, Candlewick, 2021

This beautifully illustrated book is about a young Asháninka girl who lives in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest. She happily greets her animal friends each day until the day she sees something she has never seen before. Trees in the rain forest are being cut down. The little girl knows the forest needs help, and she vows to protect it. This book is a call to action to help save the Amazon rain forest.

Mars! Earthlings Welcome written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, Henry Holt and Co., 2021

Stacy McAnulty has added another delightful book to her universe series. This time readers learn about Mars. This kid-friendly book is filled with wordplay, humor, and lots of information. How about a trip to Mars?

Making “Scents” of Life

Posted May 27, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , ,

When my Bloomerang tree presented itself with a bounty of blossoms, I was more than excited. I’ve always loved the smell of lilacs. From the day I discovered the tiny buds on the tree until the buds grew into full-blown lilacs, I was anxious. The weather was good. The weather was bad. The weather said frost and that frosted me. I wanted to take the tree inside to protect it, but it was attached to the ground. After a few weeks of worry, the buds slowly began to blossom. During that time, a robin built its nest in the crook of the tree. Going near the tree caused the mama bird to become overly excited. I learned to quickly DUCK as I admired the tree and the animal life growing in it.

When the blossoms were in full array, the glorious smell of lilacs wafted through the air. I was immediately transported to my youth. After a year of dealing with COVID-19, not seeing family or friends, wearing masks, grocery shopping at six in the morning, and being stuck inside the house, the scent of the lilacs lifted my spirits. It brought me back to a time when lilacs graced our backyard and life was simpler. It was a time when children could play in the park by themselves, ride bikes freely, walk to the store down the block, play outside until a familiar whistle called them home.

My life has been filled with wonderful family and friends and very few worries, but this past year I feel like the world has been turned upside down. An ugliness has crept into our everyday lives. We all need to work harder to bring calm and kindness back into our world. Sometimes I wish we could go back to when life was not as complicated as it is today.

It’s time to stop and smell the lilacs. 


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